Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Walnuts Pack a Powerful Dose of Antioxidants

Walnuts are the healthiest of all the nuts when it comes to heart-healthy nutty super foods, research has shown. The Christmas favorites are packed with more potent and abundant antioxidants than any other popular nut, as well as healthy fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Tree and ground nuts are generally said to be among nature's most perfect ready-made foods. Not only do they have all the nutritious elements necessary for a healthy diet; they also contain high levels of protective antioxidants which counter the effects of harmful molecules.

Research suggests regular consumption of nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and type-2 diabetes. But until now it has not been clear which nut is number one in terms of health giving properties.

To answer this question, scientists analyzed the antioxidant content of nine different types of nut: walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamias and pecans. Study leader Dr Joe Vinson, from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, US, said: "Walnuts rank above peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios and other nuts.

"A handful of walnuts contain almost twice as much antioxidant as an equivalent amount of any other commonly consumed nut. But unfortunately, people don't eat a lot of them. This study suggests that consumers should eat more walnuts as part of a healthy diet."

Dr Vinson's team found that walnuts not only had more antioxidants than other nuts, but more powerful antioxidants. Those in walnuts were between 2 and 15 times more potent than vitamin E, renowned for its antioxidant properties.

The findings were presented at the 241st national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, California.
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Inadequate Diets can lead to Anemia in Older Women

According to a new study, postmenopausal women who don’t get enough nutrients in their diets have an increased risk of becoming anemic.

Women who are deficient in more than one nutrient are 21% more likely to be anemic than women who have one or no nutritional inadequacies, the study found. And that risk increases to 44% for women who are deficient in three different nutrients, said study researcher Cynthia A. Thomson, associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Arizona.

Anemia occurs when there aren't enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues in your body. It often results in fatigue and can lead to heart problems, Thomson said. Anemia is "preventable with adequate diet, and thus we need to be aware of risk and routinely assess risk to assure we intervene, hopefully before there are serious health consequences," Thomson told MyHealthNewsDaily.

Women with anemia tend to consume less protein, folate, vitamin B12, iron, vitamin C and red meat than women without anemia, according to the study. Inadequate intake of iron, vitamin B12 and folate each increased the chance of anemia by 10 to 20 percent, the study said.

Researchers examined the nutritional data of 72,833 postmenopausal women who participated in the nine-year Women's Health Initiative study. Of those women, 5.5% were anemic, the study revealed.

Researchers found that inadequacy of three different nutrients was less prevalent in white women (7.4 percent) than in other ethnicities (14.6 percent of Asians/Pacific Islanders, 15.3 percent of African Americans and 16.3 percent of Hispanics), the study said.

This could be a result of dietary differences between different racial groups — for example, Asian, African-American and Hispanic women in the study may eat less red meat or nutrient-fortified cereal products than white women, Thomson said.

The best way to ensure you're getting enough nutrients is not to take a variety of multivitamins, but rather to eat a wide variety of foods in each food group, Thomson said.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tips to keep Skin Smooth

Aging skin often means wrinkled skin. But there are steps you can take to minimize blemished, wrinkled skin.

If you want to help keep skin smoother, supple and less wrinkled as you age, the University of Maryland Medical Center offers these suggestions:
  • Eat a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
  • Include healthy oils, such as olive oil, in your diet.
  • Get plenty of regular exercise.
  • Don't smoke, and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Don't drink alcohol within three hours of going to bed.
  • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, and use a moisturizer daily.
  • On the other hand, don't wash with tap water too often, which can wind up drying out your skin. Washing once a day should be enough.
  • Wear sunscreen daily. Avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's ultraviolet rays are strongest.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Causes for Losing your Sense of Taste

A food's flavor is produced by a combination of your senses of taste and smell. If you begin to lose the ability to distinguish foods that are sweet, salty, sour or bitter, a number of factors could be at fault.

The University Of Maryland Medical Center offers these possible causes for impaired taste:
  • Getting older.
  • Having Bell's palsy.
  • Having the gum disease gingivitis.
  • Having a cold or the flu, a nasal or salivary gland infection, sinusitis or nasal polyps.
  • Being a heavy smoker.
  • Having dry mouth.
  • Having an injury to the head, nose or mouth.
  • Having pharyngitis, an inflammation of the pharynx.
  • Having a side effect of certain medications.
  • Having a vitamin deficiency.
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Stress May Cause Physical Symptoms

Significant stress can lead to health problems or worsen those you already have, the American Academy of Family Physicians says.

Do you always realize when you're under stress? The academy notes these possible warning signs:
  •  Anxiety.
  •  Back pain or headache.
  •  Stomach upset, diarrhea or constipation.
  •  Feeling tired much of the time.
  •  Difficulty sleeping.
  •  Feeling short of breath.
  •  High blood pressure.
  •  Stiffness in the jaw or neck.
  •  Weight loss or gain.
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Understanding Sleep Disorders

A good night's sleep is important for good health, but certain conditions can keep you from getting the sleep you need.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes common sleep disorders and their characteristics:
  • Insomnia, which involves difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early.
  • Narcolepsy, which involves extreme sleepiness and sudden muscle weakness during the day, or suddenly falling asleep during the day.
  • Restless legs syndrome, which involves an uncomfortable feeling of "creeping" in the legs. This may be accompanied by aches and pains in the legs.
  • Sleep apnea, often characterized by snoring, involves interrupted sleep from sudden gasps or snorts. The condition may be dangerous since it can interrupt regular breathing.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Warning Signs that Headaches need Attention

Nearly everyone suffers from an occasional headache. But frequent, severe headaches could be a sign of a more serious health problem.

The Womenshealth.gov Web site says these warning signs should prompt a visit to your doctor:
  • Headaches that occur multiple times each month and persist for hours or days.
  • Headaches that are so severe that work, school and home life are affected.
  • Headaches accompanied by tingling or numbness, changes in vision, vomiting or nausea.
  • Headaches accompanied by pain surrounding the ear or eye, convulsions or stiffness in the neck.
  • Losing consciousness or feeling confused during headaches.
  • A headache that follows an injury to the head.
  • Headaches that suddenly occur when you've rarely had headaches in the past.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reasons for Shoulder Pain

Pain in the shoulder can impact most moves you make, so it's vital to identify the source and treat it.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers these possible causes of shoulder pain:
  • Bursitis, an inflammation of the tiny fluid-filled sacs in the shoulder joint.
  • Tendinitis, an inflammation of tendons in the shoulder.
  • A torn tendon.
  • Impingement, pressure on the soft tissues in the shoulder applied by the top of the shoulder blade.
  • A dislocation or fracture.
  • Arthritis.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Get Some Exercise

If it's hard to stimulate yourself to exercise, a change of venue may be in order. How about the great outdoors?

With warmer weather on the way, the American Diabetes Association suggests these outdoor activities may get you moving:
  •  Go for a walk outside.
  •  Pull months' worth of weeds in the garden.
  •  Go for a hike on a wooded trail.
  •  Play a game of Frisbee.
  •  Try kayaking or canoeing.
  •  Head to the park for a walk or a game of tag with the kids or grandchildren.
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dog walkers 34% more likely to reach exercise benchmarks

Instead of spending thousands of dollars on various weight loss pills or going through severe diets, the best way to stay healthy and lose weight is to own a dog and make sure to take it on regular walks.

The study, performed by researchers from Michigan State University, studied the habits of dog owners and found that those who regularly take their dogs to walks are 34% more likely to satisfy the benchmark set by the federal government related to physical activity.

The researchers also found that while younger dog owners managed to get the most benefits from taking their dogs to walks, middle age people had the least amount of time for such walks.

“Obviously you would expect dog walkers to walk more, but we found people who walked their dog also had higher overall levels of both moderate and vigorous physical activities. There appears to be a strong link between owning and walking a dog and achieving higher levels of physical activity, even after accounting for the actual dog walking”, lead researcher Mathew Reeves said.
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